Best Motion Picture of the Year
American Sniper (2014): Clint Eastwood, Robert Lorenz, Andrew Lazar, Bradley Cooper,
Birdman (2014): Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole
Boyhood (2014): Richard Linklater, Cathleen Sutherland
The Imitation Game (2014): Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Teddy Schwarzman
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven M. Rales,
Selma (2014): Christian Colson, Oprah Winfrey, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
The Theory of Everything (2014): Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Lisa Bruce, Anthony McCarten
Whiplash (2014): Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Steve Carell for Foxcatcher (2014)
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game (2014)
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper (2014)
Michael Keaton for Birdman (2014)
Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything (2014)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Marion Cotillard for Two Days, One Night (2014)
Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything (2014)
Rosamund Pike for Gone Girl (2014)
Julianne Moore for Still Alice (2014)
Reese Witherspoon for Wild (2014)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Best Achievement in Directing
Richard Linklater for Boyhood (2014)
Alejandro González Iñárritu for Birdman (2014)
Bennett Miller for Foxcatcher (2014)
Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game (2014)
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Boyhood (2014): Richard Linklater
Birdman (2014): Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo
Foxcatcher (2014): E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness
Nightcrawler (2014): Dan Gilroy
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
American Sniper (2014): Jason Hall
Inherent Vice (2014): Paul Thomas Anderson
The Imitation Game (2014): Graham Moore
The Theory of Everything (2014): Anthony McCarten
Whiplash (2014): Damien Chazelle
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Tangerines (2013): Zaza Urushadze
Ida (2013): Pawel Pawlikowski
Leviathan (2014): Andrey Zvyagintsev
Wild Tales (2014): Damián Szifrón
Timbuktu (2014): Abderrahmane Sissako
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Best Achievement in Editing
Best Achievement in Production Design
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock
The Imitation Game (2014): Maria Djurkovic, Tatiana Macdonald
Interstellar (2014): Nathan Crowley, Gary Fettis
Into the Woods (2014): Dennis Gassner, Anna Pinnock
Mr. Turner (2014): Suzie Davies, Charlotte Watts
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
The Imitation Game (2014): Alexandre Desplat
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014): Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar (2014): Hans Zimmer
The Theory of Everything (2014): Jóhann Jóhannsson
Mr. Turner (2014): Gary Yershon
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
The Lego Movie (2014): Shawn Patterson (Everything is Awesome)
Selma (2014): Common, John Legend (Glory)
Beyond the Lights (2014): Diane Warren (Grateful)
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (2014): Glen Campbell, Julian Raymond (I’m Not Gonna Miss You)
Begin Again (2013): Gregg Alexander, Danielle Brisebois (Lost Stars)
Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
American Sniper (2014): John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, Walt Martin
Birdman (2014): Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Thomas Varga
Interstellar (2014): Gary Rizzo, Gregg Landaker, Mark Weingarten
Unbroken (2014): Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, David Lee
Whiplash (2014): Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
American Sniper (2014): Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman
Birdman (2014): Aaron Glascock, Martín Hernández
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014): Brent Burge, Jason Canovas
Interstellar (2014): Richard King
Unbroken (2014): Becky Sullivan, Andrew DeCristofaro
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014): Dan Deleeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Daniel Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014): Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Stephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
Interstellar (2014): Paul J. Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R. Fisher
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer
Best Documentary, Feature
Citizenfour (2014): Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky
Finding Vivian Maier (2013): John Maloof, Charlie Siskel
Last Days in Vietnam (2014): Rory Kennedy, Keven McAlester
The Salt of the Earth (2014): Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado, David Rosier
Virunga (2014): Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara
Best Documentary, Short Subject
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013): Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry
Joanna (2013): Aneta Kopacz
Our Curse (2013): Tomasz Sliwinski, Maciej Slesicki
The Reaper (2013): Gabriel Serra
White Earth (2014): Christian Jensen
Best Short Film, Animated
The Bigger Picture (2014): Daisy Jacobs, Chris Hees
The Dam Keeper (2014): Robert Kondo, Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi
Feast (2014): Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed
Me and My Moulton (2014): Torill Kove
A Single Life (2014): Joris Oprins
Best Short Film, Live Action
Aya (2012): Oded Binnun, Mihal Brezis
Boogaloo and Graham (2014): Michael Lennox, Ronan Blaney
Butter Lamp (2013): Wei Hu, Julien Féret
Parvaneh (2012): Talkhon Hamzavi, Stefan Eichenberger
The Phone Call (2013): Mat Kirkby, James Lucas
I actually really like a lot of the films up for awards this year, but ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ jointly tied with ‘Birdman‘ for the most nominations, at nine each, I mean, did they even watch the film? I like Wes Anderson, but I wouldn’t say this was one of his better films, and one suspects a certain amount of back slapping is going on there given he is a regular at the ceremony. Similarly, the inclusion of Selma can only be attributed to wanting to keep certain areas of the press happy that have accused the Academy of not being representative enough of black talent, but really the film is disrespectful of the Civil Rights Movement to such a degree that its inclusion can only do more harm than good.
Indeed, on the back of the nominations a lot of comment was made about the proportion of historical films that centre around white male protagonists. This is ridiculous though. In terms of recorded history this is simply reflective of the percentage of white men who were in positions to do something interesting enough to make a film about one day compared to the percentage of black men or women, and women in general, who were likewise. Important films can be made exploring the reasons why that is the case, like last year’s best picture winner ‘12 Years a Slave‘, but pretending the facts are otherwise does no one any good – and neither does the constant droning on in the media about the relative percentage of women or black people working in this and that industry (topically the film industry and membership of the Academy), when the real question is how many people from the societal group concerned have actually applied for that industry?
Equal opportunities for all must be enforced and kept open, and anything that encourages people to follow whatever dream and aspiration they have is to be encouraged, but let’s not make the situation ridiculous with meaningless argument and attempts to equally equate gender and race across the board. I strongly doubt, for example, we will ever see a miner workforce that is fifty percent female.
Best Film – I’d love to see ‘Birdman’ or ‘The Imitation Game‘ take home the award, I’ve given the latter a higher mark but ‘Birdman’ is a bit more, ahem, uplifting, though ‘The Imitation Game’ is inspiring in many ways too. ‘Boyhood‘ is the current favourite but I find it difficult to engage with when it purports to say something general about growing up and yet nothing in the film reminded me of any part of my childhood, and there was a strong element that suggested taking drugs when you are young is normal and to be tacitly encouraged, and for me that’s a pretty arrogant statement to make within that general context.
Best Actor – As has been the case for years, this is a very strong category. Again, Keaton for ‘Birdman’ is for me the winner here and I’d love him to be successful because he is immensely likeable in the film too, but Redmayne for ‘The Theory of Everything‘ is strong competition and the favourite after winning the Bafta and the Golden Globe, and the others aren’t too far behind either.
Best Actress – Difficult to see anyone other than Julianne Moore winning given her success at the Globes and the Baftas, and even though I haven’t actually seen the film it is a little ridiculous she doesn’t have an Oscar yet, and she was also very good in ‘Maps to the Stars‘ this year as well, so I’d like to see her win. Pike and Witherspoon were both merited inclusions (although I take serious issue with the latter’s ‘Wild‘), Jones was better than the pair of them, and alas I’ve not seen Cotillard’s performance yet but she already has an Oscar anyway …
Best Supporting Actor – Again a strongly competitive category with Simmons for ‘Whiplash‘ in pole position after his Bafta win. I am torn on this one, I wouldn’t put Ethan Hawke into the running, although he was quite good in Boyhood the performance just wasn’t in the same league as the others here, but the others are all tempting. I think in the end I’d give it to Simmons as well.
Best Supporting Actress – Ah my favourite category this year!!! It’s going to sound a little odd, but I am very proud of Keira Knighley for getting nominated here. Getting any Oscar nomination is an immense achievement, but this is her second after her lead nomination for 2005’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and a significantly smaller proportion of nominees go on to receive a second. Whenever calculating nomination statistics it is always a good idea to remove Meryl Streep as she skews everything, and once more she appears here but I don’t realistically see her or Laura Dern having much joy this time around. Emma Stone could potentially do it for a strong turn in ‘Birdman’ but the feeling may be she is bound to be back again anyway – Patricia Arquette, however, may not be and she was extremely memorable in ‘Boyhood’.
Arguably it was a lead performance rather than support but she has the major advantage over Keira in that her role is punctuated by several emotionally charged moments and is overall much more rounded out as a character, whereas Keira’s Joan Clarke in ‘The Imitation Game’ was very much there in service of the story with Alan Turing the primary focus, so from that point of view Arquette has the edge. However, Keira’s was a strong performance that helped anchor and sell what is a tremendous film, and one looking quite likely to be nudged out of the other categories. Plus, if we look at the number of influential people that she’s worked with over the years, and who I’ve no doubt have naturally fallen in love with her too of course, compared with Arquette who has been relatively quiet on the big release front for a while, and you just never know. I think Keira is probably second favourite to win but I really hope she can do it – she definitely gets my vote anyway, does she care about anyone else’s?
Best Director – Iñárritu for Birdman surely? Linklater is favourite here but that seems unfair and perhaps more to do with his concept for ‘Boyhood’, making it over twelve years, and if that is the case hopefully people will vote for him in the right category, the original screenplay, rather than here. Tyldum would be nice, and Miller was good but ‘Foxcatcher‘ was a little too depressing to realistically have many people rooting for him, but Anderson? Really?
I’m casually interested in the other categories – I hope ‘Lost Stars’ from ‘Begin Again‘ wins for best original song as Keira actually sings it in the film, as well as Adam Levine, so it’s kind of a double chance for her to win ha!
I’d quite like ‘The Boxtrolls‘ to succeed for best animated film as, even though I haven’t seen two of the contenders, it was inventive, took a lot of dedication, and was well acted enough to have me still quoting lines from it (specifically mimicking Ben Kingsley’s strong cockney accent – it’s a lot of fun, you should give it a try … ).
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor
J.K.Simmons – Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Alejandro González Iñárritu – Birdman
Best Original Screenplay
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo – Birdman
Best Adapted Screenplay
Graham Moore – The Imitation Game
Best Animated Film
Best Foreign Language Film
Emmanuel Lubezki – Birdman
Tom Cross – Whiplash
Best Production Design
Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Costume Design
Milena Canonero – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Score
Alexandre Desplat – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Original Song
Common, John Legend (Glory) – Selma
Best Sound Mixing
Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley – Whiplash
Best Sound Editing
Alan Robert Murray, Bub Asman – American Sniper
Best Visual Effects
Paul J. Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott R. Fisher – Interstellar
Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky – Citizenfour
Best Documentary, Short
Ellen Goosenberg Kent, Dana Perry – Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Best Animated Short Film
Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed – Feast
Best Live Action Short Film
Mat Kirkby, James Lucas – The Phone Call
It was an unusually dull ceremony until the larger awards started to roll up – host Neil Patrick Harris was a bit of a disaster and looked as if he was very much aware of the fact by the end of the night, although when you are interviewed to talk about hosting the event and you describe it as maybe the most prestigious hosting event in Hollywood it doesn’t bode well. There can be, after all, little doubt that the Oscars is the industry’s crowning evening although they very rarely get the show itself right – usually the most entertaining aspects are people making mistakes with all the stress involved, and it would be interesting if they could make it more interactive with the guests there perhaps, they are after all entertainers. Still, at least no one was wearing a cape ….
Harris set the ill tone early on with reference to the crowd being the ‘best and whitest’, nodding, of course, to the current debate about racial diversity in the industry and the Academy itself. Then, however, he for no real reason singled out David Oyelowo in the audience, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in ‘Selma‘ and whom many believed deserved an Oscar nomination for the role (not myself I have to say), and asked him to read out the punchline to one of his jokes, which was that no more remakes of ‘Annie‘ should occur – referencing the recent rendition that starred Quvenzhane Wallis and Jamie Foxx, leading some in the media to refer to it as the ‘Black Annie’.
Now, to my mind it is not especially relevant what skin colour the protagonists in a film are, unless it is dealing with race, but what on earth was Harris doing singling out Oyelowo to make this connection? It’s not like ‘Annie’ has been remade a thousand times – and he made another bizarre racial dig when he referred to ‘Gone Girl‘ as being originally entitled ‘bitches be trippin yo’, again for no apparent reason (incidentally, the Baftas showed a clip from ‘Gone Girl’ which was an enormous spoiler for the film, and they did the same thing with ‘Gravity‘ the year before. Tut tut). This quasi-racist behaviour continued when he, in an extremely patronising tone of voice, commented ‘well done’ after Rita Ora finished performing her number. Together with pronouncing multiple names incorrectly, Margot Robbie for one, and introducing a horrendously dull personal predictions element (although eventually he did pick up on a lot of the same things I am about to) all ensures that there’s no chance in hell he’ll be invited back to host again. Although his joke that Benedict Cumberbatch is what you get when you ask John Travolta to introduce Ben Affleck, was quite funny.
On this note, it wasn’t entirely surprising to see that the line up of young budding talent included two white guys, two white girls and two black guys. Hmm. It’s a shame they don’t get to actually say anything – or get to showcase some of their work, rather than just coming on stage, still they hopefully got to attend the after parties as well … With ‘Glory’, from ‘Selma’, winning best song I was tempted to cry POLITICAL but actually seeing it live I think it is deserved, it certainly moved Oyelowo to tears during a standing ovation, and also surprisingly Chris Pine. I wasn’t aware the Academy Awards were postponed in the aftermath of Dr King’s assassination, that was quite interesting, and Common and John Legend’s speech for ‘Glory’ was strong and well delivered – and they highlighted the problem of the number of black people incarcerated in the States with the statistic that there are more in prison now than were slaves in 1850, but it is misleading – it’s really the percentages that you need to look at of course, and I assume the percentage of black people living free now in America is significantly higher than in 1850.
It would have been amusing if Adam Levine had requested Keira Knightley come onto the stage to perform ‘Lost Stars’ from ‘Begin Again‘ – mimicking the beginning of the film where her character is dragged reluctantly onto the stage: you could have been looking at the first baby ever born on the Oscars stage right there. This leads on to Patricia Arquette’s speech which was AWFUL – it was essentially no different from a Miss World speech that suggests America is fighting for everyone else’s equal rights and that it’s time for equal rights for all women in America. Ahem, pardon me if I’m wrong, but don’t American women already have equal rights as enshrined by law (listening to her post ceremony interview, there actually seems to be some legal points in the US constitution that may need to be addressed on this issue, if her source is accurate)? Watching Meryl Streep start rocking out at this suggestion, as if she were some oppressed creature suddenly given hope by a heroine daring to spit in her oppressor’s face, was a little off.
The speech also mentions wage equality, and on the one hand she is saying this generally but on the other there is an assumption she means based on sex, and by extension women’s pay in the movie industry. Technically, that’s not what she has said, but it is very much how it came across, and indeed it is what she meant. It’s a very thorny issue, but it does seem true to say that quite often actresses are not paid as highly as actors, and although highlighting the issue in an acceptance speech may generate a fresh dialogue about it, there is also a feeling of well, what are you actually doing about it? Answer, probably nothing. Again look at Streep, one of the most well respected and thereby influential women in the industry who appears to feel strongly enough to try and get some attention in front of the cameras but in reality is amply placed to have had some real impact on the matter. There is a kind of ‘I want someone else to sort this out’ vibe.
The issue was recently brought to public attention by the Sony hack that showed the wages for ‘American Hustle‘ were as follows : O’Russell: 9%; Cooper: 9%; Bale: 9%; Renner: 9%; Lawrence: 7%; Adams: 7% – much hullabaloo was made at Lawrence getting less then the men, but this is actually completely fair as her role was a supporting one, what isn’t fair though is that Renner, in support as well, gets 9% because he’s male and Adams, who was a lead performer, only get 7%. Famously, ‘The X-Files’ paid Gillian Anderson less than David Duchovny (roughly fifty percent less), which initially made sense as she was unknown in the beginning but as time went on she arguably became more of a draw than her male counterpart, yet three seasons in and things were unchanged until she fought the execs and managed to address the problem. Similar pay gaps exist at an executive level in the industry as well, so there really is a long standing issue that needs to be addressed.
However, it is complicated. Ironically, it’s not currently really a case of sexism – more one of business, and in a modern context the blame now really lies with women themselves in the industry who have allowed the status quo to continue. The industry will continue to pay less to any identifiable group that they employ so long as that group continues to allow them to get away with it. Women cannot realistically look to their male colleagues to help them out because if they make a stand it will affect their careers. They have to get organised and fight for legislation to protect and enforce a workable system for equal pay – and if they were to go about it in a reasonable and well executed manner, with the backing of their union and as many actresses as possible, they would absolutely be successful. The underlying feeling, however, is that they are actually waiting for men to sort out the problem for them, and this speech, whilst it may potentially generate some sort of movement for change, kind of feeds into that. It’s about time that the women who constantly showboat about how much they are oppressed actually attempted to do something about it. Another trendy thing for certain actresses to say when they talk about a ‘male dominated industry’ is ‘there are very few decent female roles out there’ – a statement that, even if taken as true, presupposes women do not actually possess the ability to write, which I find deeply offensive.
Complicating pay though, is the fact that each actor negotiates on their box office draw potential as well, which factored into the above J-Law debate. Ironically, there is nothing to stop all the major studios banding together themselves and declaring that they think it’s outrageous that movie stars should be paid millions of pounds and that they’ve decided to shake the industry up, only paying a maximum of thirty grand per film and if the actors don’t like it then tough, there’s plenty of new talent in acting schools around the world who will gladly work for that amount. It’s quite easy to get public support for gender pay equality, but when you reach a level that few people will ever make even over a lifetime then I wonder if that support begins to taper away somewhat ….
It’s a debate that I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about over the coming years, it would be interesting to know how equal things are on this side of the pond as well. Back to the Oscars though, Keira took not winning very well, as did her fellow nominees, after having looked not in the least happy at not winning at the Baftas, perhaps understandable given it was on home turf (I certainly thought she might have been in for some joy that evening). Speaking of the other nominees, Emma Stone looked completely radiant – as did Glen Campbell’s daughter in the audience, apparently the camera crew agreed with one or two extra shots going in her direction throughout the evening.
Terrence Howard’s rambling and nervous introduction to ‘The Imitation Game‘ was broken up by an extended shot of Keira herself, who was attempting to mask what everyone else was thinking – ‘what the fuck is wrong with him?’. Apparently, this was to cover up the Autocue breaking down. Suddenly it all makes sense – Keira would certainly work on me as distraction technique too (this is all at 1.47 on the full clip below). There were no clips from some of the nominated films, the animation and special effects categories for example, which was a bit rubbish, and Iñárritu managed to give the best acceptance speech of the night for best director despite not being fluent in English. Graham Moore’s was also quite good, and Sean Penn managed to noticeably lower the tone of the affair when he introduced the best film winner.
What I really want to know is – who was Jennifer Lopez giving the evil eye to at 1.13.18 (just after Rita Ora’s number)?
In previous years I’ve posted some individual clips from the ceremony, this time around though I’ve decided that when combined like that they add too much to the load time of the page. The clip above, so long as it lasts on YouTube, has the notable moments marked out in yellow on the timeline, with most of the main awards presented toward the end. Worth checking out as well are Iñárritu’s several post ceremony interviews.